Work in progress

I am currently co-PI (jointly with José Santana Pereira from ISCTE-IUL) of a project funded by the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation which addresses the mechanisms and impacts of non-voting in Portugal (September 2021 - August 2023).

I have recently started to take an interest on the electoral effects of natural disasters and their relief efforts. Please get in touch if you want to check the latest copy of my paper currently under development, provisionally titled "Electoral aftershocks: the effects of an earthquake in a multilevel political setting", which deals with the aftermath of the 1998 earthquake in the Azores.


Journal articles

Mario Quaranta, João Cancela, Irene Martín & Yannis Tsirbas (2021), 'Trust, Satisfaction and Political Engagement during Economic Crisis: Young Citizens in Southern Europe', South European Society and Politics, online first.

José Santana Pereira and João Cancela (2021), ' Demand without Supply? Populist Attitudes and Voting Behaviour in Post-Bailout Portugal' South European Society and Politics , online first. PDF

João Cancela (2020), 'Some politics is local: the determinants of engagement in local and national politics across Europe' Quaderni dell’Osservatorio Elettorale. Italian Journal of Electoral Studies, 83(1), 29-44. PDF

Elisabetta De Giorgi and João Cancela (2019), 'The Portuguese radical left parties supporting government: from policy takers to policy makers?' Government and Opposition. PDF

Marco Lisi and João Cancela (2019), 'Types of party members and their implications: results from a survey of Portuguese party members', Party Politics , 25 (3), 390-400. PDF

João Cancela, António Luís Dias and Marco Lisi (2017). 'The impact of endorsements in intra-party elections: evidence from open primaries in a new Portuguese party', Politics, Vol 37, Issue 2. PDF. The replication code is available here.

Pedro T. Magalhães, João Cancela and Catherine Moury (2016) 'Scattered Clouds in the Horizon of Consensus: Attitudes of Portuguese Parliamentary Elites towards Europe before and after the Crisis', Historical Social Research, 41.4, December 2016, 173-194. PDF

João Cancela and Benny Geys (2016). ' Explaining Voter Turnout: A Meta-Analysis of National and Subnational Elections', Electoral Studies 42, 264–275. PDF

João Cancela, Thierry Dias Coelho, and João Pedro Ruivo (2014). 'Mapping Political Research in Portugal: Scientific Articles in National Academic Journals (2000–2012)', European Political Science 13, 327–339. PDF



João Cancela and Marta Vicente (2019). Abstenção em Portugal: diagnóstico e hipóteses de reforma [Voter turnout in Portugal: portrait and potential reforms], Cascais: Estoril Institute for Global Dialogue [in Portuguese]

Tiago Fernandes (coord.), José Santana-Pereira, João Cancela, Edalina Sanches (2019). Instituições e qualidade da democracia. Cultura política na Europa do Sul [Institutions and the quality of democracy: Political culture in Southern Europe], Lisbon: Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos [in Portuguese]. PDF


Book chapters

João Cancela (forthcoming) 'Elections: Institutional Framework and Participation Dynamics' In Tiago Fernandes (ed.), Varieties of Democracy in Southern Europe, 1960s-2000s: A Comparison between Spain, France, Greece, Italy and Portugal, South Bend: Notre Dame Press (Kellogg Institute Series on Democracy and Development). [This chapter was already published in Portuguese in a volume edited by Tiago Fernandes: Variedades de Democracia na Europa do Sul, 1968-2016: Uma Comparação entre Espanha, França, Grécia, Itália e Portugal, Lisboa: Imprensa de Ciências Sociais. PDF]

Marco Lisi and João Cancela (2017). 'Ativismo e participação nos partidos portugueses' In Marco Lisi e Paula Espírito-Santo (coord.), Militantes e Ativismo nos Partidos Políticos. Portugal em Perspetiva Comparada, Lisboa: Imprensa de Ciências Sociais [In Portuguese]


Reports and other publications

Catarina Reis Oliveira (coord.), Isabel Estrada Carvalhais, and João Cancela (2014). "Political parties openness to immigrants in Portugal:between the opportunity structure and the individual perceptions". Lisbon: Alto-Comissariado para as Migrações, IP

Catarina Reis Oliveira, João Cancela and Vera Fonseca (2013). "Family reunification in Portugal: the law in practice". Lisbon: Alto-Comissariado para a Imigração e Diálogo Intercultural, IP

João Cancela (2012). Associativismo e participação política: o caso português (2006-2009). FCSH-UNL.[Master thesis, in Portuguese]



The title of my dissertation is The roots of political involvement: an empirical and comparative study. While my main focus is on the Portuguese case I analyse data from a wide series of European countries. I try to provide an original answer to the puzzle of why some people participate more in the national realm of politics, while others tend to be more engaged with its local level. In a nutshell, the results show that geography plays a key role in determining how likely someone is to be active in different political scales.
I defended my dissertation in 2020, and so far I have published two papers stemming from my dissertation work, one in Electoral Studies , and the other in QOE: Italian Journal of Electoral Studies..

Assistance in journal articles

Rui Branco and Tiago Fernandes , with João Cancela and Thierry Dias Coelho (2012). "Démocratisation et société civile. Leçons de l’expérience portugaise". Pôle Sud, 2012/2 (n° 37), pp. 9-23